Keep Masks, Say Infectious Disease Experts, Even with COVID Health Orders Lifted

Some beachgoers continue to wear masks. Photo by Chris Stone
Beachgoers wearing masks in May. Photo by Chris Stone

Although California is expected to lift the bulk of its COVID-19 health restrictions Tuesday, health experts Sunday urged people to hold onto their protective masks.

After Tuesday, those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to go mask-free in most situations, but infectious disease experts suggest masks, an important tool in preventing viral transmission, will remain necessary in some instances.

“We should all keep our masks around for now, knowing that there may be some situations where we want to use them,” said Michael Ben-Aderet, MD, associate medical director of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai and an assistant professor of medicine.

He and other health officials said masking – part of the safety protocols in place for the past 15 months of the pandemic – is still a good idea, and still required in hospitals, healthcare settings, for travel and in some workplaces, despite COVID-19 cases being down due to high vaccination rates.

The guidelines are likely to continue evolving, Ben-Aderet said.

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